Preschool Early Literacy Storytime: DINOSAURS!

Through some crazy random happenstance, I have somehow become an “early literacy specialist” and instead of doing 8 storytimes a year I’m doing them every week…forever. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least. Right now, having survived the first six months doing this, I am finally together enough to gather up old storytimes and modify them to fit the Early Literacy model. I recently updated my Dinosaurs storytime and it was a HUGE hit! I googled around and found lots of great suggestions for how to make the plan for EL friendly. This is one I will definitely come back to each year.

This early literacy storytime is geared towards preschool aged children, ages 3-5 years old. If you drop a few of the books, you can easily modify this to be a toddler age program.

I always open my programs with a clapping song I learned way back in my first storytime training “Clap Along With Me”. For added fun, I look for a puppet with “hands” and tell the children that my puppet’s soft hands don’t work for clapping and he needs their help! Works every time! After we finish that, I do a quick Open Shut Them to get the wiggles out of our fingers and then start the stories.

Get the whole storytime plan here:

Today we are going to listen to some stories about HUGE animals that lived a long time ago!  Looking at the books behind me, can you guess what our theme is for today?

That’s right! Dinosaurs!

Let’s take a look at a fact book to find pictures of how we think dinosaurs used to look!

[show pictures from “World of Dinosaurs” or other dinosaur non-fiction title]

ACTIVITY: Let’s say the names of the dinosaurs and clap out the syllables in the dinosaur names. For example, T REX is two claps (clap clap) but Tyrannosaurus would be (clap clap clap clap clap) five claps!

Aside: When we separate words into sounds, it’s called segmentation. Playing with words this way now will help your children later in school when they have to break down words into syllables as a way of decoding new words.

[Do syllable claps for a few dinosaurs – Tri-cer-a-tops, Steg-o-saur-us, Ank-ly-o-saur-us]

Our first storybook is about three dinosaur brothers. They are the dinosaurs with THREE HORNS. Do you remember which dinosaur has three horns?  [Tri-cer-a-tops]

BOOK: Three Triceratops Tuff by Stephen Shaskan

That was a book about THREE Triceratops and ONE Tyrannosaurus. Now get out your dinosaurs (wiggle your fingers) and help me with this little rhyme:

FINGERPLAY: Five Enormous Dinosaurs

Five enormous dinosaurs letting out a roar (ROAR!)

One stomped away and then there were four!

 Four enormous dinosaurs knocking down a tree (CLUNK!)

One stomped away, and then there were three.

 Three enormous dinosaurs eating tiger stew (EW!)

One stomped away and then there were two.

 Two enormous dinosaurs sitting in the sun

one flapped away, and then there was one.

 One enormous dinosaur left all alone (AW!)

He stomped away and now there are none.


Aside: Doing fun little rhymes like this help children develop their sense of numbers and sequence.

OPTIONAL BOOK: Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

FLANNEL BOARD: Dinosaurs hiding under shapes

(I found this idea on a Flannel Friday post from Thrive After Three and Miss Meg’s Storytime.  It was a big hit, giving us a chance to discuss colors, shapes, and – of course – more dinosaurs!)

Dinosaurs lived a long time ago

Some walked (STOMP)

Some swam (swim motions)

Some flew, you know! (flap wings)

Some were big (hands above head)

Some were small (squat down low)

Some were gigantic (arts out stretched)

And some very very tall (stretch on tip toes)

BOOK: Dinosaur Vs. The Library (have the kids roar with you)

Dinosaur Hokey Pokey:

Put your claws in…

Horns in…

Teeth in…

Feet in…

Tail in…

CRAFT OR TAKEAWAY: The totally awesome Stephen Shaskan has printables up on his site for Three Triceratops Tuff. You can have the kids make Tuff brother puppets, Tuff brothers headbands, or give them a maze to take home!

Final Aside: Parents, don’t forget to check out some books to read with your child to learn more about dinosaurs or just to enjoy a story together. Nothing helps improve your child’s literacy skills like reading together.


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